What are my Missing Teeth Options?
Want the good news? There are some excellent tooth replacement options for most people looking to replace missing teeth.
If you are missing teeth, be it one, all, or multiple missing teeth, you will know too well how difficult it is to be living without teeth. Perhaps you cover your mouth in public whenever you smile or laugh. Perhaps eating or even talking is a problem. And, if you have not replaced your natural teeth in some time, your jawbone can begin to resorb, negatively affecting the aesthetics of your face, causing the mouth and lower half of the face to fall in and your skin to sag.
In this article, we’ll talk about some of the preferred dental implant solutions for replacing missing teeth (including replacement options after extraction), but before you try to determine what’s best for you, please book in to see a dental professional and discuss your situation in person. Tooth replacement options may be available that you’ve never thought of (such as All on 4 dental implants or the Same-Day-Teeth procedure, and at Aria Dental, our team is dedicated to helping you find the best solution for your budget and lifestyle.
Solutions for Missing Tooth
If you’ve had a tooth extracted or are looking for options for missing front teeth solutions, whether it’s replacing your front tooth, a rear tooth, or several or all teeth, your options fall into three main categories: dental (tooth) implants, dental bridges, and dentures. All three options have their pros and cons, depending on your budget, health, location of your missing teeth, and aesthetic objectives.
The most preferred tooth replacement option is dental implants. This option is where a metal post (made of titanium) is positioned (anchored) into the jawbone beneath the gum. This biocompatible titanium post will fuse with the jawbone (osseointegration) to provide a stable base for the artificial tooth (false tooth). Tooth implants are often the preferred option because they are designed to look, feel, and function like natural teeth. Unlike other teeth replacement options and solutions, they can also help prevent bone loss by providing the stimulation the jaw needs for bone volume.
Dental implants can be used when you need a single tooth restored, multiple teeth replaced, or all teeth replaced. If you have no surrounding teeth and want a permanent solution for all upper or lower teeth replacement, you can opt for dental implant supported bridges or dental implant supported dentures (an overdenture).
Most people can have dental implants, provided you are a fully grown adult. A dental implant supported bridge may require some additional treatments should you be missing healthy jawbone (enough bone), and or have advanced gum disease. There are also some health conditions that may prevent you from having dental implants. This can be determined by a visit to your Aria Dental professional who can create a custom treatment plan. You may have to consider some lifestyle changes, such as learning how smoking can affect dental implants.
Dentures are a popular option for missing teeth and dental implants alternatives. Dentures, also called false teeth, are a removable artificial teeth option that can be taken out for cleaning or whenever required. Although not as stable as dental implant-based options, dentures are individually tailored to your mouth and around your existing teeth and can be an alternative option for patients with low bone density.
The downside of full dentures or partial dentures is that they are not anchored to your jawbone like dental implants, so chewing and speaking may take some practice. Some people find that upper dentures feel bulky and cumbersome in their mouth, and tasting food is more difficult. For those who wear lower dentures, looseness is a common problem. Consequently, many lower denture wearers feel embarrassed about eating or talking in public.
Conventional dentures or partial dentures need replacing and adjusting periodically due to your mouth changing shape over time, so the time and cost involved must be factored in. The metal clasps might need adjusting and physical denture relined to your gum line. Dentures are a cheaper alternative to dental implants.
Removable dentures are the most cost-effective solution though, so if budget is a concern, they are worth investigating. In particular, if you only have one missing tooth or a couple of missing teeth, wearing a removable partial denture may not be as uncomfortable as a full denture.
Sometimes, if a patient is having all teeth extracted (and is electing to have dentures and not implants), they will be given an immediate partial denture – immediately one or more teeth after extraction. Immediate dentures help with healing by protecting your gums and sockets and preventing bleeding. They also allow the patient to leave the clinic with dignity, looking like they still have a set of teeth.
Later, once healing is complete and the gums have settled, they will be given their new removable dentures to wear, which will be made of higher-quality materials with a more natural gum-coloured base and real tooth look.
Dental bridges, or traditional bridges, have long been considered a common tooth replacement solution. As opposed to dental implants, bridges are fixed to (and supported by) adjacent teeth. This can be a disadvantage if those adjacent natural teeth are healthy, as they may require reducing to support the replacement tooth. However, a dental bridge can enhance your cosmetic appearance and may be more suitable if your adjacent teeth have fillings or require further dental work in the future. A dental bridge can be used as a temporary solution while waiting for a full arch dental implant replacement while maintaining your existing natural teeth.
To replace a missing tooth, a dental crown (also known as a dental cap) is a prosthetic restoration that is designed to cover or encase a damaged, decayed, or weakened tooth. It is placed over the visible portion of the tooth, extending down to the gumline, effectively restoring the tooth’s shape, size, strength, and appearance. A Dental crown is custom-made to match the colour, shape, and size of your natural teeth, ensuring a natural and functional result for tooth replacement options. You may have two or more crowns as treatment options to help support partial dentures.
Why Replace Missing Teeth?
If you are looking for dental options for bad teeth, replacing a missing tooth or replacement teeth is important for several reasons, both in terms of your oral health and overall well-being. Here are some key reasons why you should consider replacing your missing teeth to protect your remaining teeth:
Your teeth play a crucial role in biting, chewing, and speaking in a patient’s mouth. Missing teeth can significantly impair your ability to eat comfortably and speak clearly. Replacing them can restore proper functionality, making it easier to enjoy a varied and nutritious diet.
Preventing Dental Shift
When a tooth is missing, the surrounding teeth tend to shift over time to fill the gap. This can lead to misalignment, crooked teeth, and bite problems. Replacing the missing tooth helps maintain proper alignment and prevents further dental issues.
When you chew, the roots of your teeth stimulate the jawbone. When a tooth is lost, the underlying jawbone may start to deteriorate due to a lack of stimulation. Dental implants, for example, can provide the necessary stimulation to keep the jawbone healthy and prevent bone loss.
Missing teeth can have a significant impact on your smile and facial appearance. This can affect your self-confidence and self-esteem. Replacing missing teeth can improve your appearance and boost your confidence.
Teeth play a role in forming various sounds when you speak. Missing teeth, especially front teeth, can cause speech difficulties and alter your speech patterns. Replacing missing teeth can help you speak more clearly.
Maintaining and keeping your natural teeth is the best option. Gaps left by a missing tooth can become food traps, making it harder to clean those areas properly. This can lead to a higher risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues. Replacing a missing tooth makes oral hygiene easier and reduces the risk of dental problems.
Adjacent Teeth Protection
When a tooth is missing, the neighbouring teeth might start to shift and lean into the empty space, which can lead to problems with their alignment and function. Replacing the missing tooth helps maintain the integrity of adjacent teeth.
Chewing is the first step in the digestive process. Inadequate chewing due to multiple missing teeth can lead to digestion problems and gastrointestinal discomfort. Replacing your teeth supports proper chewing and digestion, with dental implants offering the most secure for chewing function.
Overall Quality of Life
The combination of improved oral function, better aesthetics, enhanced self-confidence, and reduced risk of oral health issues contributes to an overall better quality of life. Keeping your natural teeth for as long as possible is the best solution, and hopefully, you never need a missing tooth replacement.
Looking for Tooth Replacement Options? Aria can help.
Replacing teeth goes beyond just cosmetic reasons; it is essential for maintaining oral health, preventing dental problems, and enjoying a good quality of life. Consult with a dental professional to discuss the best replacement option for your individual situation. There are several effective options for replacing your teeth, including dental implants, bridges, and dentures. Our dentists can help you choose the best option based on your specific needs and preferences for your own teeth, such as dental implants or a dental bridge. Unfortunately, Medicare doesn’t cover dental implants.
At Aria Dental in Perth, our highly trained dental implant dentists can help you enjoy the best dental health, replace your missing teeth and protect your adjacent natural teeth. Whether you’re considering implant supported bridges (fixed or removable dental implant options), full or partial dentures, other treatments or needing advice on your missing tooth options, our experienced dentists and leading prosthodontist can help you.